(Loving Gigi Excerpt: Good friends know when it's time to leave.)
Gigi’s cell phone buzzed with a message. “It’s Rocco. Oh, my God.” Gigi jumped up from her spot on the couch and knocked her glass of wine over on the table. “Shit.”
Annelise was beside her, mopping up the mess with napkins. “What happened? What did he say?”
Gigi read over the message from her bodyguard again. “He said Kane is here. In my apartment building. Right downstairs. Why would he come here?”
Annelise walked over to pick up her purse. “Because he wants to see you?”
“Where are you going?” Gigi asked in a panic and read another message on her phone. “Rocco said Kane is on his way up.”
“You don’t want me here.”
Gigi grabbed her friend’s arm. “Yes, I do. You don’t know how I get with Kane. I can’t be alone with him.”
Thoroughly amused, Annelise asked, “Are you afraid he’ll jump you or that you’ll jump him?”
Gigi’s grip tightened on Annelise’s arm. “Neither. Both. I don’t know. I need your objective opinion. Stay and watch how he is with me. I don’t even care if this sounds immature. I’m telling you, my brain shuts off around him. Help me not make a complete fool of myself by imagining what’s maybe not there.”
Laughing, Annelise pried Gigi’s hand off her arm. “Okay. Okay. I’ll hang out for a little bit. I’ve never seen you like this with a man.”
“I’ve never felt like this. I’m already a wreck. Imagine how I’d be if I slept with him and then didn’t hear from him. I’d go insane.”
“Whoa, where did that come from? Slow down. You barely know him, and the last time you saw him he was with another woman.”
“I know. Which is why you have to swear to stay. I can’t trust my judgment when it comes to Kane. Whatever happens, don’t leave.” There was a knock on the door. “Promise?”
Concern had replaced Annelise’s amusement. “I promise. I don’t want you to get hurt, Gigi.”
Gigi gave Annelise a quick hug, then checked her image in a mirror on the wall before rushing to the door. “I don’t want that either. Especially since he’s so close to Gio. I don’t want to do anything that threatens what I found, but, oh, wait until you see him.”
With her heart thudding crazily in her chest and her hands shaking with excitement, Gigi tried to keep her facial expression calm when she opened the door. “Kane, this is a surprise.” Her eyes flew to his, and the chemistry she’d asked herself a thousand times if she’d imagined was back, even stronger than before. Her lips parted involuntarily, and she swallowed nervously. He leaned in as if drawn by the same irresistible force. His lips hovered above hers, the warmth of his breath a caress she knew she’d enjoy on many parts of her. Flushed, Gigi licked her bottom lip and loved how he watched the move hungrily.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” he said in a deep, husky voice.
“We were just having wine,” Annelise said from beside them. “You must be Kane. My name is Annelise.”
Kane raised his head slowly and tore his eyes from Gigi to greet her friend. “Yes, I am. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Gigi clung to the door handle for support, practically sagging against it during the temporary reprieve. I’m such an idiot. For all I know Gio asked him to drop something off for me. Hold it together. “What brings you by, Kane?”
His eyes flew back to hers, as they silently said, “You.” But his actual answer gave much less away. “I have business in London. I didn’t see you before you left and thought I’d check to see how you’re doing.”
Breathe. Play it cool. Gigi closed the door and raised a hand in the direction of the couches behind them. “Well, your timing is perfect. As Annelise said, we were just having wine. Would you like a glass?”
“I’d love one.” It wasn’t what Kane said, but how he said it that sent waves of heat through Gigi. He wanted more than wine.
Oh, God, me too. Me, too. “Have a seat. I’ll get you a glass.”
Behind the swinging door of her kitchen, Gigi wrapped her arms around her waist, closed her eyes, and bit her lip. I don’t know him well enough to feel this way. If being ditched after a kiss hurt, do I really want to risk more?
Don’t do it.
When Gigi returned with his glass, Kane was seated on the couch across from her friend. The way Annelise was looking him over reminded him how he’d felt in high school when going out with someone involved meeting her father. He shot her what he considered a charming smile.
She didn’t smile back. “So, how long will you be in London?”
Her eyes narrowed. “You said you were here for business.”
“Oh, yes. Not sure yet. We’re considering an expansion, so I’m visiting sites for a potential secondary regional office.”
“Any in Scotland?”
“Would it be a permanent office or a temporary endeavor?”
Kane loosened the tie that suddenly felt tight around his neck. He stood with relief when Gigi returned with his glass of wine and one for herself. The awkwardness of Annelise’s questions was quickly forgotten as well as the woman herself. That was the risk of seeing Gigi again. He wanted her with an intensity that overshadowed everything and everyone.
Gigi held out the glass of wine to Kane. His hand brushed hers while he accepted it. From the expression in her eyes when they met his, Kane knew she felt the same fire that had shot through him. “Thank you,” he said softly. She held his eyes for a moment longer. He’d never wanted to kiss a woman as desperately as he wanted to kiss her. To taste her plump lips. He groaned.
“Gigi, Kane was just telling me about the business that brought him to the area. It sounds as if it’s all still up in the air,” Annelise said cheerfully from the chair across from them.
Without looking at her friend, Gigi answered breathlessly, “Business decisions can be complicated. They aren’t something to be rushed into.”
“Not unless you know what you want and, in this case, I do,” Kane said.
“Do you?” Gigi’s lips parted again deliciously.
“Yes,” Kane said decisively.
Annelise chirped in again. “How exciting. And surprising, I bet, too. Gigi, didn’t you tell me you hadn’t heard from Kane since you saw him that last time at Gio’s?”
Gigi shook her head as if clearing it, and the temporary spell that had overtaken both of them was broken. She looked over at her friend and nodded. “I did say that.”
They seemed to share a meaningful look. “You did.”
Gigi took a seat in a chair beside the couch and downed a gulp of her wine. Kane placed his glass on the table in front of him and returned to the couch. He turned a charming smile on Annelise again. “Do you think it’s possible to give Gigi and me a few minutes alone? We have something we need to . . . discuss.”
He expected Annelise to bow out gracefully. She seemed to understand what was going on between them. However, in an act that raised Kane’s level of frustration, Annelise settled herself deeper in her chair. “Gigi and I tell each other everything, so I’m sure she’s okay with me hearing whatever.”
“It’s okay, Annelise. I want to hear what he has to say.”
“That’s apparent, but I promised to hang out with you tonight. Remember how you said you didn’t want to be alone?”
“She won’t be,” Kane said definitively. He had no intention of leaving. Gigi’s eyes flew to his.
“Annelise is right. She should stay.”
Okay. Gigi had called in reinforcements. That was fair. Why should she trust me? I haven’t given her a reason to. I imagine she’s as confused as I have been. Kane stood and walked over to Gigi. “I spent the last month living at my office instead of coming here and doing what I wanted to.” He took her by the hand and pulled her up to stand in front of him. “This.”
The moment their lips touched all sanity left Kane. What started as a light kiss deepened quickly. Gigi wound her arms around his neck, pressing intimately against him. He couldn’t get enough. She held nothing back. It was a kiss that consumed both of them.
“Okay, that’s it. I give up. It was nice to meet you, Kane. Gigi, call me tomorrow.” With that, Annelise left the apartment.
Kane heard her, but he was already beyond caring about her presence. Gigi felt better than he remembered. Her mouth tasted sweeter. Her body softer beneath his firm hands. He didn’t want to stop to discuss why he hadn’t contacted her.
Without breaking off their kiss he lifted her in his arms and set off down the hallway toward what he guessed would be her bedroom. He’d spent countless nights imagining what he would do if he had Gigi in his bed.
Tonight he planned to enjoy every moment of being in hers.